These days guys tend to mature a little later than we once did, but as you become a man (as opposed to a man-child) you’ll pick up some habits that turn you into a better fella. Part of that is trial-and-error; part of it is seeing things from other perspectives.
I (barely) started maturing in my mid-20s, and I’m still working on it now. I’ve gone to college, dropped out, gone back, slept with so many girls I’ve lost count, been in love, broken girls’ hearts, had my heart broken, been fired, quit amazing opportunities, moved to many places solo, lied…the list goes on and on. It all formed me into a guy who believes in karma — and taught me about ways to better yourself while bettering the lives of the people around you.
1. Don’t Be A Flake
Staying true to your word is everything. If you tell your boy that you’ll go to a party with him, or that you’ll keep your phone close in case he needs a ride home, or if you have a lunch date with a girl, you have to live up to those promises. Would I rather stay home and watch “Game of Thrones“? Well, of course. But if I already told my pal I’d be his wingman, then the Khaleesi will have to chill in the DVR for a bit. Don’t be a flake — you’re better than that.
2. Put The Phone Down
If somebody is talking, whether you’re on a date or in class or at the bar, give them your full attention. Its just politeness. It’s that simple. When you start respecting people, strangers, just the human race, you will get respect in return. Oh, and no song ringtones anymore, obviously. Vibrate or die!
You will be shocked, amazed, at the effect this has on people as you pass them at school or work. Don’t look at others as if they don’t exist. A smile can change somebody’s entire day, and will make them see you as confident and genuine. (Just make sure you know the difference between a friendly smile and a “you wanna know how I got these scars?” smile.)
4. Listen To Opinions You Disagree With
However strong your beliefs are, be open-minded when hearing others’. Debate can be a great thing, but try to understand where that person is coming from. You never know, you might actually learn something. Never engage in any social media arguing, though, because it’s all garbage and just causes trouble.
5. Look Out For The Little Guy
Don’t be a dick to someone who has it tougher than you do. I remember a rule someone told me when I started waiting tables at 18: “The first person you want to make friends with is the dishwasher. Then the line cooks.” The advice was about acknowledging the people who never get noticed, because people will notice how you act and treat you accordingly.
6. Try To See The Bright Side
That doesn’t mean you have to be blindly optimistic; it means you try to find solutions instead of only thinking about all the stress and struggles of life. Having a positive outlook will draw people to you, because everybody wants advice from that kind of person (as opposed to a grumpy bastard), and that’s a badge to be proud of.
7. Shut Up Sometimes
Silence really can be golden. Don’t interrupt people; let them finish their sentences and thoughts. If you don’t immediately know the answer to something — be it in class, on a date or during an interview — it’s OK to pause for a few seconds, or say, “Let me think about that,” instead of speaking for the sake of speaking. With a little silence, you’ll actually be able to think.
8. Know How To Act At Bar
Don’t be the guy screaming for the bartender and waving your credit card or cash around. Buy your pals a round, tip well, don’t creep on girls. I’m not saying you should be a boring stiff. Get shots, dance, go nuts! Just try to not be the jackass at the end of the night with spilt beer all over his shirt, screaming about an after-party. Be the guy who gets invited to the after-party.
9. Have A Little Patience
Your girl has been getting ready for hours…someone is paying with a check at the grocery store…the DMV line is 40 people deep…you’ve been on hold for an hour…the car ahead of you is driving at a snail’s pace…the guy at the gym won’t get off the treadmill. If you let each of these situations drive you crazy, the outcome will never be good; you’ll just pass your aggression to others and it’ll blow up in your face. Take a deep breath and play a stupid game on your phone.
10. The Classic Rules Are Timeless
Hold the door open for any lady. (Especially for your lady.) Say “please” and “thank you.” Say it for big things and for small things. Don’t call your male elders “bro” or “dude”; call them “Mr.” (Especially for your lady’s father.)